KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has confirmed endorsing Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate, after a video clip leak earlier today.
The former prime minister clarified that Shafie’s nomination was a collective decision in an informal meeting at the Ruman Tetamu Sabah here two days ago with leaders from DAP, Amanah, and Parti Warisan Sabah.
“We unanimously agreed that Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal be named as candidate for prime minister,” Dr Mahathir said in a statement this evening.
He said the meeting was attended by Shafie, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP leaders Tan Kok Wai, Lim Guan Eng, Anthony Loke, M. Kulasegaran and Liew Chin Tong.
Notably absent were representatives from PKR, whose president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is in a stalemate with Dr Mahathir over the choice of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Plus coalition’s prime minister candidate.
Dr Mahathir said the others agreed that Shafie was a suitable candidate as he is a staunch believer against kleptocracy, having been one of the “earliest victims” of the Najib government prior to GE14.
“Shafie was with Muhyiddin at the time. Now Muhyiddin has left the struggle to join with the kleptocrats who once expelled and shunned him,” he said.
He added that his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Marzuki Yahya, another of the Bersatu dissenters against its president and incumbent Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, were also present at the June 25 meeting.
Dr Mahathir said the group discussed various national current issues, including how to take the country forward and “return the people’s mandate” given to PH Plus in Election 2018, which he claimed as having been wrested by Muhyiddin and his cohorts through their “backdoor government”.
He said the group also agreed that the next PH Plus government would have two deputy prime minister posts and nominated PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as candidate for DPM 1 and Mukhriz as candidate for DPM 2.
Dr Mahathir said that if Shafie as PM would also strengthen relations between peninsular Malaysia and the Bornean Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.
The chief minister will be the first East Malaysia to become prime minister in the country’s history, if Pakatan and its allies succeed in retaking Putrajaya from the Perikatan Nasional administration.
“I also believe this will be accepted by the rakyat as proof that leading personalities within the Opposition do not prioritise rank and position.
“The most important thing is to continue the struggles started in 2015, to save the country from further damage due to its leaders’ greed and avarice,” Dr Mahathir said.
As Parliament will open again next month, the 94-year old said he will bring forward the vote of no-confidence against Muhyiddin.
“God willing, with the support of the MPs who cannot accept this back-door government, we will be able to return the mandate and see to it that Shafie is appointed Prime Minister,” he said.